By Jeremy Ray, BS, CPT, Fitness Center Coordinator, Baptist Health Medical Center-Little Rock
What do you want to achieve? Who do you want to become?
Have you ever asked yourself these two questions? I have over the years –– not as much when I was younger, although I wish I would have –– but as I get older and now have kids it seems to influence my thoughts more often.
Neither of these questions imply that you are an unaccomplished person. They are simply questions that I believe everyone could benefit from asking themselves. In every aspect of our life, we should strive to improve, and I would bet everyone reading this at one time or another along the way has had a vision of the type of person they would like to be.
Do your actions match up with the type of person you aspire to be? It’s a simple but powerful question.
According to Douglas Vermeeren, a sought-after speaker and creator of one of the top personal development programs in world, after interviewing 400 of the most successful people he found that there are five areas in life that people are constantly trying to improve –– self, spirituality, health, relationship, and abundance.
I won’t even begin to try and cover all these areas, but I do have some insight into one of them. Looking at it through the window of my profession, I’m in constant interaction with people who want to lose weight, lose fat, fit into a certain size, improve muscularity, and just get in better condition.
Although these are mostly aesthetically inspired reasons to start exercising or eating healthy, I know there’s a deeper connection between what we strive for externally and what we long for internally.
They both are intertwined, and although being able to walk up stairs without breathing hard is an accomplishment for some, the motivation that drives someone to improve to be able to do that originated from a certain way they wanted to feel or be perceived.
I want to offer a few tips on how to move forward in your journey of health improvement, although these could be used interchangeable in other areas of your life as well.
Have faith and believe in yourself.
Your mind is where it all starts. A positive mind is like a fertile garden where anything can grow. Unfortunately, negative thoughts are just as powerful, producing a crop of doubt and unwillingness to try, and depleting you of everything needed to grow.
Assess your environment.
Quoting James Clear in his book, “Atomic Habits,” environment is the invisible hand that shapes human behavior. How many times have you walked into a room with food being the last thing on your mind only to see some cookies or other sweets and grabbed one?
If losing weight is a goal, then your environment should be designed to help you be successful. Have you also noticed that you tend to be more successful when you’re surrounded by people who are like-minded and positive? Remember the old saying that you are the equivalent to the five people you are around the most.
Set goals but use habits.
Be specific and clear on what you want to accomplish. Goals are the destination, and habits are the vehicle to get you there. For example, if your goal is to run a 5K and the only time for you to train is 5 a.m., then you’ll have to develop certain habits that allow you to accomplish that task such as going to bed at a decent time so you’ll feel like getting up and consuming water for proper hydration.
Procrastinating can have you yearning for what you want for years and possibly never allowing you to reach your full potential. To quote Craig Ballantyne in his book “The Perfect Day Formula,” you must take action. It’s plain and simple and referring back to the first paragraph, “Do your actions match up with type of person you inspire to be?” If the object of your desire seems overwhelming, then break down the habits into small manageable steps all leading to that goal.
Practice time management.
Time is what we all never have enough of. I believe in a lot of cases it’s time that prevents people from exercising, or the lack of time management.
Winning the day with your time and energy begins the night before. First, you must get enough sleep and recovery time. Head on the pillow at 10 p.m. and lights out at 10:30. Second, if your days are full, then early in the morning before everyone wakes up is the time to get things done. If this is extremely early, then you may have to get to bed a little earlier. How bad do you want it? Thirdly, set rules and guidelines in your day for things that will detour you from what you want to accomplish. For example, I will only engage in social media for an hour each day. Hours of Facebook, Instagram, and other social media outlets can take time away from the goals you want to accomplish. For another example, I will skip going out for lunch three days a week so I can get my workout in.
Time is valuable. Take charge of your day to make sure your time is used to achieve what you desire.